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Nothing to sniff at: Cisco finishes $2.8bn gobble of Snort'ing guy's Sourcefire

Biggest security purchase since Intel wolfed down McAfee

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Intrusion prevention's a hot topic in the world of security, as reflected in the $2.8bn price tag Cisco has paid to complete the acquisition of network security specialists Sourcefire.

The purchase - which was announced in July - is the largest security firm purchase since Intel's $7.7bn acquisition of McAfee in 2010. And it's a huge personal payday for Marty Roesch, creator of the open-source intrusion protection system Snort. He took Snort's basic technology and built commercial code under the Sourcefire brand since 2001.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sentimental. When I think back when I was in my spare bedroom writing Snort, I never imagined it would be foundational to building a great company followed by an acquisition by one of the largest technology companies in the world," Roesch said in a blog post.

It's the second time the company has tried to get bought out. Israeli firm Check Point tried to purchase the company in 2005 for $225m, but the deal was dropped after it looked as though the US government was going to block the deal on national security grounds. There have been no such problems for homegrown firm Cisco however.

"To truly protect against all possible attack vectors, our focus is to examine the nature of modern networked environments and devices and to defend them by deeply understanding and analyzing the mindset of the attackers," said Christopher Young, senior vice president of Cisco Security Group.

There are no changes planned at Sourcefire at the moment – the firm's headcount and headquarters will remain the same and it's business as usual, Roesch promised. ®

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